For those of you just tuning in, my last blog was about the latest Britney Spear’s album “Blackout”. In the process of discussing the album I spent a bunch of time discussing Janet Jackson and the effects of her album “Janet”. In the interest of being fair and balanced (making me better than just about any news media outlet) I thought I should share my thoughts about the new Janet Jackson album “Discipline”.
Here’s the thing, every Janet Jackson album since “Control” has had a theme of some sort. “Control” was about asserting control over her life. My last blog talked about the “Janet” album at length, but essentially it was an empowered declaration of her sexuality. Unfortunately since that album there has been a theme of, I’m not just a sexual creature, I’m a freak. She’s a Jackson…I shouldn’t be shocked. There was the awkward “Velvet Rope” album and don’t even ask about “Damita Jo”.
This begs the question, what is the theme of “Discipline”? As I told my husband, I’m a bit confused. At first I thought it was Janet Jackson is a femme bot, but then I began to think it was Janet Jackson wants to be Barry White. My ever helpful husband suggested the theme was Janet wants to be a Barry bot. I think Rolling Stone magazine made a clever point in their review when they mentioned that Jackson’s voice was ultra digitized so when she busted out the sex talk no one would consider the idea that Jackson does those things with her fugly boyfriend, or is he a husband, Jermaine Dupre. Good plan.
Despite its S&M-esque cover art, title, and breathy interludes, this album is more sexy, like “Janet”, and less freak, like everything since. The first single, skip the video, “Feedback” is the best song on the disc. Honestly, I like all the mid-tempo and dance songs on the album. Like Britney, Janet doesn’t have an awesome voice. Her voice is suited for dance music, upbeat songs that have as much to do about production as vocal talent. I’ve never been a fan of Janet Jackson ballads, and this album doesn’t change that. In fact, it would have been nice if she had packaged the album like they did “Janet”, where the first half of the disc was all the dance music and the second half was all the slow jams. It would save me from skipping around so much.
Song for song this album is way better than Britney’s last effort. In the grand scheme of Janet Jackson albums, it’s not as good as the holy trinity of “Control”, “Rhythm Nation 1814”, and “Janet”, but it is the best album since then. Easily surpassing the four albums since “Janet” in 1993.